Last updateWed, 19 Feb 2020 2pm


Volume 90 (Fall 2017 - Spring 2018)

Controversy Over Vaccinations Continues

Vaccine Controversy ContinuesThe vaccine controversy, which stemmed from a falsified paper from 1998, still seems stronger than ever today despite an overwhelming body of evidence in support of immunizations and their positive effects on public health.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists immunizations as one of the top ten medical achievements of all time, being directly responsible for the eradication of a laundry list of diseases, including polio and smallpox. A 2014 CDC report showed because of vaccinations given from infancy to childhood, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children born in the last 20 years will be avoided.

The main source of modern vaccine controversy is a paper published in a scientific journal, the Lancet, in 1998 where Robert Wakefield falsely asserted that there was a link between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism.

According to Jeffrey Weisburg, Ph.D., a specialist professor of biology, this paper was promptly retracted, as it contained falsified data with a small patient sample size of only 32 individuals. The study was then repeated by other scientists with thousands of other patients, where no correlation between the MMR vaccine and autism was observed.

In response to the accusation that there are monetary conflicts of interest in the new studies, Weisburg stressed that the new studies were undertaken by many financially unrelated parties.

Still, the paper is cited by many anti-vaccine groups as a reason why children should not be immunized, citing an unjustified fear of causing developmental issues.

“The issue is that we’ve gotten much better at detecting autism, and it just so happens that its signs show up at the same time vaccinations are given,” said Weisburg.

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School of Education Introduces Research and Support Program for Rett Syndrome

New Rett Syndrome Program 1The School of Education announced the Program for Research and Support for Rett Syndrome (RTT), in collaboration with the New Jersey Rett Syndrome Association (NJRSA) at a conference held in the Wilson Hall Versailles room on Friday, Nov. 17.

The purpose of the event was to provide information from inter-professional perspectives on care in RTT, and to educate attendees on the condition, the program and its functionality.

RTT is a rare non-inherited genetic postnatal neurological disorder that occurs almost exclusively in girls and can lead to severe deficiencies in communication, motor skills, eating, and breathing.

The conference began with registration and a light breakfast, with welcome remarks from John Henning, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Education, to open up the event to their guest speakers.

Patricia Remshifski, PhD, CCC-SLP, the Chair of the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Coordinator of the Program for Research and Support for Rett Syndrome, presented on the program. 

Remshifski first explained the primary goal, which is to establish a University-based program for research and support for individuals with RTT and their families. She then highlighted the approximately 200 families in New Jersey who are affected in some way by the disease, and stressed that they are in need of support, education, and treatment.

These families were the inspiration for the establishment of the program, and the University is able to provide service, academic experience and a personalized education for students working with these families outside of the classroom.  

“We hope to support Rett Syndrome in the community, and provide treatment for communication while bringing families together,” Remshifski said.

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Annual Festival of Languages Celebrated

The Department of World Languages and Cultures presented the Festival of Languages in the Wilson Hall Auditorium on Wednesday, Nov. 8. The festival was celebrated by world language students and professors who showcased their language skills through artistic talents including song, dance, poetry, videos, and presentations.

The festival began with the reading of Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda’s poem “Al Partir” read by Keith Lee and Jasmine Garcia, followed by Malia Padalino’s violin performance of “Emma Zunz” by Jorge Luis Borges.

After the University students performed, Shore Regional High School Spanish honor students engaged with the audience in a tutorial of how to create an origami turkey, with all steps in Spanish. This was the second consecutive year the festival opened its doors to the surrounding community.

One of the 18 high school students who performed, sophomore Nicholas Silva, appreciated Monmouth University’s efforts to celebrate the importance of world language and heritage. “It was a great experience to see a diverse field of cultures and languages represented,” said Silva after his class’s performance.

Once the high school students finished their tutorial and fable recitation videos, seven of Professor Hiyam Sarsar’s Arabic 101 students dressed in traditional Arab garb, and performed a dance titled, “Arabic Fantasy.”

Following the dance, Chai Enteridge stole the crowd’s hearts with a beautiful French performance of Je Sais on acoustic guitar. Although nervous to perform in front of an audience consisting of both professors and students who are familiar with the language, Enteridge, a French student, was pleased by the support he received. To Enteridge, the festival, “opened everyone’s perspective” on how the University values world language.

Enteridge’s song was followed by Brittany Macaluso’s French video reading of “Déjeuner Du Matin,” a poem by Jacques Prevert, followed by a PowerPoint presentation on Italian designer by Catie Mazzella.

The Italian language carried out the ending of the festival, which included Frank Lino’s fun trumpet video performance of Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore,” and a “Tarantella” dance by four Italian students.

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Harvesting for the Hungry

Harvesting For Hungry 1Monmouth students enrolled in the Peace Corps Prep program harvested apples with Farmers Against Hunger to donate to disadvantaged families in time for Thanksgiving on Sunday, Nov. 5.

The event was hosted at Eastmont Orchards in Colts Neck by Farmers Against Hunger. The goal of the event was to gather surplus crops and harvest them with the purpose of donating to families in need of nutritious foods. Farmers Against Hunger accepts volunteers from various organizations and schools, including the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of New Jersey.

It was officially announced by Elyse Yerrapathruni, the Gleaning Coordinator of Farmers Against Hunger, that the event successfully collected over 6000 pounds of apples.

“For many people who suffer financially, healthy food and produce can be extremely difficult to come by,” Yerrapathruni said. “Farmers Against Hunger provides tons of fresh produce to these families in need and thus provides nutrition and life.”

“I think it is very important that we connect directly with our food supply,” said Frank Cipriani, Director of the Peace Corps Prep Program. “The chain from farm to stomach is so long that we really should reconnect with what it takes to feed us, and to be aware of how our work can feed those who, for economic reasons, are disconnected with the chain.”

According to the University’s website, the Peace Corps Prep program at Monmouth University audits the courses students take to see if they qualify for the prep certification. After the auditing process the program director will assist students in charting their schedule to reach the qualifications of the certification. While being a member of this program students are connected with internships and opportunities that make them especially experienced in fields relevant to the Peace Corps service positions.

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Monmouth President Discusses Important Issues on WMCX

MU President Discusses Issues 1University President Grey Dimenna, Esq., sat down with WMCX  sophomore hosts Molly Fitcher and Noah Preschel to discuss topics such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Title IX violation concerning the University in March of 2016 on Tuesday, Oct. 31.

The segment, titled “Bird’s Eye View,” was live-streamed on the University’s Facebook page and began with Dimenna describing the DACA email he sent out in early October. The DACA program, according to Fox News, allows individuals called “Dreamersdreamers,” who come to the U.S. illegally as minors, to be protected from immediate deportation.

Dimenna  said that, to the best of his knowledge, the University is not becoming a sanctuary campus. According to Dimenna, sanctuary campuses pass policies in which they refuse to cooperate with federal authorities in handling and detaining over undocumented students, not just DACA students.

“My reason for not adopting such policies is that I do not believe they are necessary given the limited number of such students attending our University.  I think we can protect those students just as well without passing such a policy,” he explained. 

“My goal in sending the email was to reassure any DACA Monmouth that we care about them and that the University will be as supportive of them as possible,” said Dimenna.  “I also wanted to reaffirm to the campus community the values of inclusion, equality and non-discrimination that I hope are, and will continue to be, the principles of our University.”  

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Second International Education Week Held

International Education Week 2017The University’s second International Education Week will be held from Nov. 13 to 17, presenting a variety of programming about the importance and benefits of learning abroad.

According to Jon Stauff, Vice Provost for Global Education, “International Education Week focuses on mobility – the movement of students from Monmouth abroad and our engagement with international students and their cultures from over 30 countries.”

“We highlight Monmouth’s work in international education, including study abroad, international student services, global service trips, and our campus commitment to the United Nations,” he added. “Our events all serve to share a core message with students in particular – you can do this!”

Programming for the week includes speakers sharing their own experiences abroad, informational panel presentations about things such as daily challenges faced by international students, educational entertainment events such as a fashion show and tea ceremony, and opportunities to learn more about study abroad, according to Stauff.

“We are doing a mix of events to cater to as much of our student audience as possible,” said Samantha Falvey, office coordinator for the international education department. “We choose events that will provide the opportunity for our campus to gain a global perspective, that will be engaging, and that come in many creative forms. We try to balance catering to Monmouth’s tastes with getting everyone to think out of the box.”

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University Holds Biennial Interdisciplinary Race Conference

The fifth Biennial Interdisciplinary Race Conference was held at the University from Nov. 9 – 11. With discussions led by numerous distinguished scholars from 15 U.S. states, four continents, and twelve nations, the conference focused on leadership and how it relates in terms of race and gender

Hosted by the Department of History and Anthropology, the Interdisciplinary Race Conference’s sub-theme was: Race, Gender, and Leadership in Global Societies: Goals, Strategies, and Reconciliation. Each of these subtopics were discussed at length over the three day conference period with presentations of scholarly works and open conversation.

The primary conference organizers were Hettie V. Williams, Ph.D., a lecturer in African American history, and Julius O. Adekunle, Ph.D., a professor of history and anthropology. Originating in 2008, the first race conference occurred the year that Barack Obama was elected president, and was conceived out of conversations between Williams and Adekunle. “My dissertation concerns African American women in the civil rights movement and I have written on the topic of race/taught courses of the subject for several years,” said Williams.

The first day of the conference was held in Wilson Auditorium. The conference opened with a performance of “Glory” by Deacon Solomon Cobbs of the Freehold Church of God. Cobbs was followed by a presentation from the keynote speaker, Jonathan Holloway, PhD., the Provost of Northwestern University and the former Dean of Yale College. 

Holloway deliberated the topic “The Price of Recognition: Race and the Making of the Modern University.” Among the subtopics were how to include students of color in “historically white institutions.” Holloway elaborated on the idea, explaining the tension between the memory of history and its written record, all while deftly incorporating narratives and its written record, all while deftly incorporating narratives from Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man.

After his keynote address, an audience member asked his thoughts on keeping the University’s “Wilson” Hall, to which Holloway responded with an explanation of former President Woodrow Wilson’s significance at Princeton University. Holloway explained that he does not believe in renaming a building in vain.

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Model UN Wins Big at Oxford University Competition

MU Students Win Awards 1The University’s Model United Nations Team (MUN) competed at Oxford University’s annual MUN contest from Nov. 3 through Nov. 5, where eight Hawks joined other students from Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The three-day competition in Oxford, England consisted of thematic committees where students individually wrote position papers and negotiated policy resolutions. In order to obtain their win, the students were asked to pen a resolution, defend it against rivals, and convince their committee of 25 to 40 rival students to pass it.

Successful resolutions required extensive research, effective public speaking and critical thinking, and clear, efficient, empirical/data-based writing. Opening ceremonies took place at Christ Church College, and awards and closing ceremonies were at the historic Sheldonian Theater.

All University students wrote resolutions and performed in the competition. Three students won awards at the competition. MUN captain and senior political science student, Prachi Patel, won first place for “Best Delegate” on an International Court of Justice (ICJ) committee that debated rival claims of genocide in the former Yugoslavia and the legality of a border wall separating Israel and Palestine.

“Overall, going to Oxford was not only the best academic experience of my college career but I also learned so much about different cultures throughout the conference. As the captain, I am very proud of team and for the hard work and time they put in to preparing for the conference,” Patel said.

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University Continues to Place in RCUC's Third Quarter

Monmouth University students from the Kislak Real Estate Institute and Leon Hess Business School led the competition for the second straight quarter of the 2017 Real Confidence University Challenge (RCUC), moving up to fifth place overall.

The University posted an “impressive” 6.53 percent total return, according to the RCUC website, which allowed them to jump four spots to join the top five. Monmouth also had the top public portfolio in the competition – according to the RCUC website, the “back-to-back quarterly wins, [being] up four spots, and the all-in on industrial strategy is paying off.”

The University is competing against 38 other schools, including the University of Georgia, which is currently in first place, and Rice University, which is in second place. Texas Tech University holds the third place in the competition, and Temple University is in fourth.

“The team had the highest points for the third quarter of 2017, following its first place showing in the second quarter, and has now moved up to fifth place for the full 2017 year,” said Peter Reinhart, Esq., the Director of the Kislak Real Estate Institute and NJAR/Greenbaum/Ferguson Professor of Real Estate Policy. “The team’s selection to invest heavily in the industrial sector paid off yet again.”

According to Reinhart, the team’s analysis of various real estate sectors and anticipation of strong growth is producing “excellent returns.”

“Students benefit from this competition in several ways,” said Andreas Christofi, PhD, a professor in the department of economics, finance, and real estate, who nominated some students to the team and advised them to invest 100 percent of their funds in industrial equities. “They learn how risk has its rewards, since investing in a risky portfolio paid off for them. Second, they get to practice their team skills and learn from each other. Third, they see that Monmouth is not inferior to any other school, and that raises their esteem and confidence.”

The competition, created as an education tool for universities as an alternative teaching method, aims at introducing real estate investing skills to students. With the competition, which is sponsored by the Altus Group, faculty are able to pursue a distinctive approach to education, according to the RCUC website.

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Debate Team Wins Big at West Point Tournament

Debate Team Win West PointThe Monmouth University Debate Team won two team awards, as well as three individual speaking awards, at the West Point Military Academy tournament the weekend of Oct. 28 – 30.

Two teams made it into the playoff rounds on Monday, Oct. 30, after winning five of the eight preliminary rounds, which were held on Saturday and Sunday. The teams consisted of Landon Myers and Chase Petras, both political science students, on one team, and Eric Schwartz and Matthew Cohen, a political science and computer science student, respectively, on the other.

The speaking awards were given to the top ten students out of the 160 competing. Alexis Vasquez, a political science student, was in fifth place, while Myers and Cohen were 6th and 10th place.

“It’s fantastic to have two teams reach the playoff rounds, and three debaters earn top 10 speaking awards against such tough competition,” said Joseph Patten, PhD, an associate professor of political science. “The team worked so hard during evening debate scrimmages and in researching new evidence since our last tournament a few weeks ago. I’m so happy to see all of their hard work pay off.”

The topic of the tournament was “Resolved: The United States Federal Government Should Establish National Health Insurance in the United States.” The topic, chosen by the American Debate Association, was selected in the summer to be debated throughout the year, according to Patten.

According to Patten, West Point has been hosting this tournament for over 60 years, and the University “makes it a point to regularly attend” the competition.

In total, the University had 16 debaters compete in the tournament. In addition to Myers, Petras, Cohen, Schwartz, and Vasquez, the competitors included Gregory Harpe, Kaitlin Allsopp, and Abdullah Rashid, who competed in the varsity division, co-captain Sabrina Saenger, and Sarah Bowers, Michael Scognomillo, Yendelli Bello, Nick Goranites, Alec Gullian, Mandeline Doe, and Claudia Di Mondo.

“This was my third tournament overall,” said Gullian, a sophomore political science student who has been debating for about a year. “The experience was awesome, especially getting to know some awesome people, while at the same time learning how to use critical thinking in a debate round.”

“Every team scored impressive victories against strong competition,” added Patten. Other competitors came from 16 schools, including schools such as Dartmouth University, New York University, and the University of Washington. The tournament included eight preliminary rounds, each lasting two hours. Each team of two students argued the affirmative side for four rounds and the negative for another four.

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Rook Coffee Spills the Beans on Customer Service

Rook Coffee Customer ServiceThe Monmouth University Office of Student Employment hosted a presentation and panel discussion on customer service on Oct. 25, featuring co-founder and co-CEO of Rook Coffee, Holly Migliaccio.

The event was free for all University students and employees. Among the guest speakers were Migliaccio, and Andrea Pappas, the Director of Recruitment and Culture of Rook Coffee. Additional speakers from the Leon Hess Business School included specialist professor John Buzza, Nicki Kelly, the administrator of the University’s MBA program, and associate Professor Eugene Simko.

“Part of our mission in Student Employment is to organize professional development workshops and events that provide our students with the information and skills that directly impact their performance here and careers after Monmouth,” said Administrator of Student Employment, Raul Arlequin, who felt that having Migliaccio speak at the event was a no-brainer.

 “For this discussion, we thought it would be nice to get an external perspective,” Arlequin explained. “We wanted someone from an organization that our students were familiar with but [who] also understands the value of good customer service and its effect on business. Someone that knows that ‘customer experience’ is just as important as the product itself, but more importantly understands that company culture has a direct relationship with the level of customer service delivered to the customer.”

Throughout the panel discussion, which was moderated by Buzza, the focus was on customer service and the importance of it in a business’ success as well as in one’s personal development.

Simko believes that there is really no such thing as a department of customer service. He explained, “There is no such thing as an organizational structure, an office of customer service. It’s a philosophy. It’s a philosophy that’s got to seep into the DNA of every organization, profit or nonprofit service, public, private… It’s something that forms the foundation of not only establishing a brand, but what they [customers] think of what we [service providers] do, and what they think of our product.”

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Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu